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Opinion: How About a Low-Water Landscaping Award for Monrovia?

I noticed a homeowner nearby removed all his front lawn and replaced it with low-water landscaping, and the thought occurred to me: Since Monrovia has a Christmas home decorating contest, why not have a Summer Solstice Low-Water Landscaping award to honor the most attractive "xeriscaped" (low water) front yard? Just a thought ...

- Brad Haugaard

Art Festival in Monrovia's Library Park

Monrovia Association of Fine Arts is having a two-day art exhibit in Library Park on Oct. 11-12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Featured artist is rick Kess, art demos, music, food trucks. Local artists who would like to display their works can contact Bill Beebe at monroviafinearts@gmailcom. Deadline is Sept. 30.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Loses to St. Francis, 35-13 :-(

St. Francis over Monrovia in football. http://goo.gl/jOWWmt

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools May Listen In on Student Social Media Posts

At its Sept. 24 meeting, the Monrovia School Board (agenda: http://goo.gl/6RkakF ) will consider, among other things, contracting with a company called Geo Listening to listen in on what students are saying on social media sites and report back to the school postings involving "bullying, cyber bullying, despair, hate, harm, crime, vandalism, substance abuse, and truancy."
 
The staff report ( http://goo.gl/nbNOqe ) says the company monitors "public social network postings within the perimeter of a school. They do not migrate into the personal or private settings of any social network subscriber."

Comment: Hmmmm. If you understand this to mean that the company just monitors postings made "within the perimeter of a school" - perhaps by using the geolocation service on a cell phone - that is incorrect. The company's service brochure ( http://goo.gl/IvEUns ) says it searches "public social media activity for customized keywords, phrases, and pictures, and align to specific school locations." So if someone posts about Monrovia schools from Wyoming, it'll record it. I'm of two minds on this. First, it seems rather intrusive, but on the other hand, I suppose if you post publicly what you say is fair game and I can understand how it could be helpful. I'm curious what you think. You can post comments below.

- Brad Haugaard

38 Degrees at Taste of Old Town Monrovia | Friends Book Sale

~ A Taste of Old Town Monrovia announced on Facebook that 38 Degrees Ale House and Grill, which is coming to to the old Merengue bakery location on Colorado east of Myrtle, will participate this year's Taste of Old Town on Oct. 19. 38 Degrees is popular in Alhambra.

~ The Friends of the Monrovia Public Library Fall Book Sale will take place Oct. 10-12, a three-day event wit thousands of donated books. Hours: Friday noon-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Close-out $3-per-bag sale is Sunday from 4-5 p.m. All funds raised support Library programs and collection development. http://goo.gl/vvxCIQ

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Rudy's Mexican Food

Lunch at Rudy's Mexican Food. Corner of Myrtle and Colorado. Got a regular chicken tostada for $7.50, off of the Luncheon Specials menu, and an iced tea for $2.25. You can't see the chicken in this picture but there's plenty there. Fine. 

- Brad Haugaard

Citrus College Stops Enforcing 'Free Speech Area' Rule

In the face of a continuing lawsuit by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Citrus College, which serves Monrovia, has agreed - among other things - to "cease prohibiting students from engaging in spontaneous expressive activity outside of the institution's tiny 'Free Speech Area'. ... Students are still prohibited from congregating or handing out printed matter within 25 feet of doorways and indoor facilities, and speech may not disrupt the educational process or other scheduled campus activities." More here: http://goo.gl/31NfZf

- Brad Haugaard

Permanent E-Waste Recycle Point in Monrovia

I've just been told that Bradoaks Elementary School, at 930 E. Lemon, is a permanent e-waste collection point. You can bring compters, printers, scanners, fax machines, televisions, DVD players, VCRs - anything with a cord, to be recycled. And the PTA receives money for every pound.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia May Split Tree Removal Costs With You

Have a fire-hazardous tree that needs removing? You may be able to get the city to split the cost with you. http://goo.gl/yQViwa

- Brad Haugaard

Filming in Monrovia | Massage Law Approved

~ Diane Delmatoff, at Monrovia City Hall, reports: The filming on Magnolia and later tonight on East Lemon in Old Town is for Battle Creek.  We have another one in the hopper for next Thursday and Friday at 880 West Foothill.  It is for a feature film called Director's Cut.  And on October 2, there will be some "B" roll shots of the Upton Sinclair house and Old Town for a show on the History Channel called Monumental Mysteries.

~ Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law the Massage Therapy Reform Act authored by Assemblymembers Chris Holden, who represents Monrovia, Jimmy Gomez and Susan Bonilla. AB 1147 lets local governments revoke licenses for establishments that violate the law. Source: Holden press release.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Dating Failure; Hit in Sidewalk; Stolen Bike; Shoplifting

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for September 15-17. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 405 service events, During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 405 service events, resulting in 60 investigations.

Traffic Collision / Driving Under the Influence – Suspect Arrested
On September 15 at 6:26 a.m., a traffic accident was reported at Huntington Drive and Fifth Avenue. Just before officers arrived, there was a second traffic collision at the location. Party one was driving under the influence and was told by party two to move his car. Party one attempted to move his vehicle and was broadsided by another car. Officers determined party one was driving under the influence; he was arrested.

Vandalism – Suspect Arrested
On September 15 at 10:24 p.m., police received a call reporting a male and female subject arguing at a skate park in the 800 block of East Olive Avenue. During the argument, the male slashed the tire on the female subject’s vehicle. The caller said the male was acting strange and had a knife. Officers responded and detained all parties at the location for questioning. After investigation, it was determined the subjects are in a dating relationship and the male subject did puncture a tire on the female’s vehicle with a folding knife he still had on him. The victim wanted to prosecute and made a private person’s arrest. The suspect was arrested and taken into custody.

Injury Traffic Collision
September 16 at 6:43 p.m., police responded to a traffic collision involving a pedestrian at Primrose and Huntington. A female adult had been struck by a vehicle while in a crosswalk and sustained a head injury. She was treated on scene by Monrovia Fire Department and taken to a hospital for a large facial laceration. Police obtained the necessary statements to conduct an investigation.

Possession of Marijuana – Suspect Cited
September 16 at 6:48 p.m., a caller reported several juveniles inside a construction area in the 1300 block of South Magnolia. It appeared they were going into the residences that are being built. The caller thought they could see the suspects pulling items off walls and throwing them around inside the buildings. The Foothill Air Support Team helicopter was on scene and saw the suspects hop over the north fence of the property. Officers located five suspects and detained them while they investigated. A responsible party for the property was contacted and responded to inspect the property. Damage was found, but one of the suspects was cited for possession of marijuana.

Stolen Bicycle
September 16 at 7:50 p.m., a bicycle was reported stolen from an apartment complex in the 900 block of Monterey Avenue. The bicycle was taken from the bike rack sometime overnight. The bike is a Mongoose mountain bike, 21 speed, charcoal grey, with gold lettering. The investigation is continuing.

Shoplifting – Suspects Arrested
September 17 at 6:40 p.m., a loss prevention officer from a business in the 500 block of West Huntington Drive called police to advise he was watching three female suspects in the process of concealing store merchandise on their person and in their stroller. The loss prevention officer had received information about the three suspects from another store. The suspects noticed they were being watched and returned the property. Officers arrived and contacted the suspects. They were identified and computer checks revealed the suspects had outstanding warrants; they were arrested without incident.

Monrovia Police: Be Aware of New Bike Safety Law

The Monrovia Police Department would like to inform drivers and make them aware of a new law that is now in effect. The new Three Feet for Safety Act requires motorists to give at least three feet clearance to bicyclists when passing from behind. Drivers must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent” and pass when the cyclist will not be endangered if traffic or roadway conditions prevent giving three feet when passing.

The new law is designed to reduce car-bicycle crashes by reminding drivers to give bicyclists more safe space when passing. Here are a few safety tips for both motorists and bicyclists.

Safety Tips for Motorists:
- Slow down near bicyclists.
- Pay attention and avoid driving distractions.
- Look for bicyclists before opening your car door.
- Be aware of oncoming bicyclists when making a left turn.
- Check your blind spot for bicyclists before turning right.

Safety Tips for Bicyclists:
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Ride with a white front light at night.
- Be visible. Don’t hug the curb and ride in a straight line.
- Stop at red lights and stop signs.
- Ride 3-5 feet to the left of parked cars to avoid opening doors.
- Be predictable and use hand signals.

Comment: I think this is a reasonable law. I'm a bicyclist and it's really scary when a car comes too close too fast. Yes, I know! I know! Some bicyclists are indeed jerks.

- Brad Haugaard

SCE: Power System 'Challenged' - Keep Conserving

Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Grigaux reports that the power company's system has been "challenged" over the past five days and there have been equipment failures and power outages. Since Saturday, the utility has replaced 369 transformers, though that is far fewer than in two past heat waves.

SCE also reports that its year-to-date peak consumption of 23,055 megawatts was reached on Monday, and, of course, the company would like you to continue reducing power usage between noon and 6 p.m. - the hours of peak energy usage. http://goo.gl/CzFYNy

- Brad Haugaard

High Tech at Monrovia High

A couple interesting technical innovations at Monrovia High.

One option for yesterday's election for homecoming prince and princesses was to vote by smart phone.

Also, students can send a text to 507-573-4012 with the message "@wakeupcats" and "you will get a daily text message to wakeup at 6:35AM. It's a great way to start the day!!!!" Comment: Cool idea, though I'm not persuaded that it is a great way to start the day.

- Brad Haugaard

City of Monrovia Statement on Hiring of Oliver Chi as City Manager

After a lengthy recruitment process, the Monrovia City Council has appointed a new City Manager: Oliver Chi.  The City Council unanimously voted to approve the contract at the September 16 City Council meeting.

Oliver Chi has over fifteen years of extensive government experience at both the state and local level.  During the past several years, he has served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Barstow, and he has also worked for the communities of Rosemead, Claremont, and Arcadia.

Chi has extensive experience in economic development, human resources management, budgeting, and intergovernmental relations.  In addition, his background includes research and implementation of performance measurement and benchmarking initiatives, process improvement, teambuilding, strategic planning and organizational development.

"We are very pleased to welcome Oliver as the newest member of Team Monrovia.  This is an exciting time in our City's history and we feel very confident in his experience, professionalism, and the level of energy that he will bring to the team," said Mayor Mary Ann Lutz.

During his career, Chi has served in numerous leadership positions for a variety of local government related associations.  In 2004, he was elected president of the Municipal Management Association of Southern California.  He has also been a board member for the California City Management Foundation, assisted the Cal-ICMA Preparing the Next Generation initiative, and participated in the Alliance for Innovation.

As an active member of ICMA, Chi authored the March 2004 cover story for Public Management, titled "Rising from the Ashes: Lessons Learned from the Southern California Wildfires of 2003."  He has also served as a speaker at local government workshops and conferences.

"Monrovia is a dynamic community with an iconic history and a reputation for innovation that is known throughout the State," said Chi.  "I am honored to be a part of such a fantastic City, and I look forward to working with the mayor, City Council, staff, and community to help shape a bright and vibrant future."

Chi, an Eagle Scout, earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.  He also holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Oliver has been married to his wife Bobbie Jo for ten years, and they have a two-year old son named Ian.

Chi will begin work in Monrovia on October 13, 2014.  Fran Delach, a retired City Manager from the City of Azusa, has been serving as Monrovia's Interim City Manager since October 2013, following the retirement of the former City Manager.

Source: City of Monrovia press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Hires Oliver Chi as City Manager | Shevlin Asks for Plastic Bag Ban Repeal

~ At tonight's meeting the Monrovia City Council unanimously selected Oliver Chi, lately assistant city manager of Barstow, to be the city's next city manager. Chi briefly addressed the council, acknowledging what has been discussed in the community, that he had a "fabulous career flop" in Rosemead, where he was city manager. He thanked the council for looking beyond that episode and promised to work hard.

~ Also at the meeting, Councilwoman Becky Shevlin asked the council to repeal or not enforce Monrovia's plastic grocery bag ban because the state ban - which Governor Brown has promised to approve - will go into effect July 1, and having two bans would be confusing. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz suggested waiting until the governor signs the statewide ban before discussing that.

- Brad Haugaard

Rain! | Chi Vote Tonight | Monrovia vs. St. Francis | Church Grows to Three Services

~ Rain! Just a little bit, but we got some today.

~ More on the Monrovia City Council voting tonight on having Oliver Chi as city manager. http://goo.gl/pPdI95

~ Sports writers discuss the Monrovia/St. Francis game. http://goo.gl/lZz9pD

~ The rapidly-expanding Fellowship Monrovia church has announced on Facebook that it will soon have three Sunday services instead of two. The church currently meets at Monrovia High at 9 and 11 a.m. Starting on Sept. 28 it will add a 5 p.m. service at its Fellowship Center at 401 Huntington Drive.

- Brad Haugaard

Lt. Col. Allen Allensworth | Silverman Appointed to Monrovia's STAAR Surgical

~ Article on early Monrovian, Lt. Col. Allen Allen Allensworth. http://goo.gl/hFP3p0

~ Louis Silverman appointed to board of Monrovia's STAAR Surgical. STAAR designs, develops, manufactures and markets implantable lenses for the eye. http://goo.gl/nQc0Rk

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Marijuana; Drunk Driving and Fighting; Too Obvious Casing

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for September 11-14. - Brad Haugaard]

Following are the weekend’s highlighted issues and events. 

Possession of Marijuana for Sales – Suspect Arrested
On September 12 at 10:10 p.m., an officer observed a motorist speeding north on Madison and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Upon contacting the driver, the officer smelled marijuana in the vehicle and subsequently searched it. The officer located approximately 18 grams of marijuana packaged separately. The motorist explained that he was in possession of the marijuana because he was supposed to deliver it to his medical marijuana clients. The suspect was unable to show proof of legitimately operating a business and was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales. 

Domestic Violence – Suspect Arrested
On September 13 at 3:46 p.m., a male and female subject got into an argument at a residence in the 500 block of East Foothill. The argument led to a physical altercation. The subjects are in a dating relationship and had been drinking. An officer arrived and determined the male suspect to be the primary aggressor in the incident; he was arrested and taken into custody. 

Driving Under the Influence / Traffic Collision – Suspect Arrested
On September 13 at 11:04 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the 100 block of South Madison regarding a suspicious vehicle parked in the roadway. Upon arrival, the officer found the vehicle parked in the opposing lane of traffic with two flat front tires. The driver was the sole occupant and was still in the driver's seat. The investigation revealed the driver had crashed into an unoccupied parked car and was under the influence of drugs while operating a motor vehicle. The driver was arrested. 

Suspicious Person / Public Intoxication – Suspect Arrested
On September 13 at 11:04 p.m., an officer responded to the 200 block of East Maple on the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, the officer located an intoxicated person inside of the reporting party’s vehicle without permission. The suspect was determined to be too intoxicated to care for his own safety and was arrested for public intoxication. The suspect was taken into custody and held for sobering. 

No-bail Warrants / Delaying an Officer – Suspect Arrested
On September 15 at 12:28 a.m., an officer was on patrol in the area of Royal Oaks and Mountain when he saw a male subject riding a bicycle who appeared to be casing the neighborhood. The officer turned on his lights and siren, but the bicyclist attempted to flee by riding faster. The officer yelled at the subject to stop, but he kept riding as fast as he could for two blocks. The officer drove in front of the male, blocking his path and allowing the officer to apprehend him. A computer check revealed the subject had two no-bail warrants for his arrest. He was arrested and taken into custody without further incident. 

Citrus College Officer Saves Woman's Life

Officer Todd Dickson receives Humanitarian Service Award from Glendora Community Coordinating Council President Robin Merkley.

Citrus College Campus Safety Officer Todd Dickson has been honored by the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees and the Glendora Community Coordinating Council for saving a woman trapped behind her airbag before her car was engulfed in flames at Foothill Boulevard and Citrus Avenue, near the west entrance of the Citrus College campus.

Dickson, a five-year Citrus, said, "I just did what I thought needed to be done." He added, "I saw the young lady, and I thought of the possibility that she may never see her family again."

Citrus College serves Monrovia.

Source: Citrus College press release

- Brad Haugaard